St Johnstone v Celtic preview: Scott Brown sidelined for McDiarmid Park trip
Last Updated: 05/10/18 6:30pm
Scott Brown will be sidelined for Celtic as they travel to St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday (kick-off 3.30pm).
The captain missed the midweek Europa League defeat to RB Salzburg due to a hamstring strain, and will be unavailable once again over the weekend.
Celtic are currently fifth in the league table - six points behind leaders Hearts - and manager Brendan Rodgers is sure his side will show the fight required to get back on track.
"The players are disappointed [about Salzburg], like we all are, but we have to move on to our next challenge. I never dwell on it too much," he said.
"I think the league will be very competitive this year. It will be a challenge but I expect us to get better and better. We always fight and we always work. The players who we have are fantastic guys and will give everything going into the game."
St Johnstone lost 1-0 to Celtic in the quarter-finals of the Scottish League Cup last week and manager Tommy Wright is hoping his side can correct some of their mistakes from the game.
"We're looking forward to testing ourselves again on Sunday against a very good Celtic side," he told the club's official website.
"We've had a full week of training and over the past few days we've been working on specifics in terms of how we can better what was actually a good performance against Celtic in the League Cup. Our record against the bigger teams is actually pretty good so hopefully we can add to that this weekend."
Elsewhere for Celtic, Tom Rogic is fit after a knock and Filip Benkovic will be assessed after returning to training, having missed the Austria trip with an Achilles injury.
Defender Kristoffer Ajer (hamstring) remains out alongside long-term absentee Nir Bitton (knee).
A decision will be made on the fitness of striker Tony Watt ahead of the game, and while Murray Davidson is back in training, he will not feature at the weekend. Brian Easton is St Johnstone's only other absentee.
St. Johnstone have won just one of their last 12 league meetings with Celtic (a 2-1 victory in May 2016), drawing three, losing eight and conceding 29 goals during this period.
Celtic have lost just one of their last 11 visits to McDiarmid Park in the Scottish Premiership (W7 D3), winning each of the previous three whilst scoring at least four goals in all of those three (13 in total).
St. Johnstone are unbeaten in eight home league games, albeit six of those have been drawn (W2).
Celtic are one of only three sides yet to win an away match in this season's Scottish Premiership (also Rangers and St. Mirren). They could go four games without an away league win for the first time since May 2013 (six matches).
Celtic's Ryan Christie has been directly involved in five goals in his last six league appearances against St. Johnstone (four goals, one assist), scoring in each of his last three at McDiarmid Park.